Anti-semitic graffiti incident at FHS

A disturbing anti-semitic vandalism act has been discovered on the FHS campus, as informed by Principal Emmert.

“I feel incredibly disappointed that students don’t already know that it’s not okay to make fun of and support a movement that murdered over six million Jewish people,” FHS sophmore Ella Hassner said. “It’s not something that you should be making fun of.” 

On Feb. 7, 2022, FHS families received an email sent from principal Bryan Emmert addressing the anti-semitic graffiti incident on campus. This act of vandalism took place in one of the boys bathrooms, and consisted of a rotated swastika, once a symbol of good fortune in Hindu religion, now associated with the Nazi party in western society.

The culprit of this hate crime is yet to be found, but the school is looking through camera footage in front of the bathroom to narrow down suspects. The camera footage has not been very useful as the faculty does not know when exactly it took place, and the graffiti might have been reported long after it was actually drawn on. Additionally, as the graffiti was just drawn onto a surface, it is hard to pinpoint who the student was. It could have been done by any student who walked into the boys bathroom, as a pen is easily concealable and an ordinary object that most students carry with them at all times. The district has been notified by the school of this incident and will follow up with an advisory lesson in March. 

Many Jewish students have expressed their frustrations of anti-semitism, including sophomore Ella Hassner.

“Anti semitism is honestly one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard,” said Hassner, “There’s literally nothing separating me from people who are not Jewish. I don’t understand what the difference is whatsoever. I think it’s ridiculous to judge a person based on their ethnicity.” 

Antisemitism is the hatred and discrimiation of the Jews as a religious or racial group. Antisemitism was a primary component of the Nazi mindset, leading up to the Holocaust during World War II, the systematic mass extermination of which resulted in the death of six million Jews — more than a third of the world’s Jewish population. The prejudiced and stereotyped way of viewing Jewish people is what has been keeping antisemitism alive until today. 

As stated previously, to address the incident, Emmert has stated that the planned advisory lesson next month will educate students about anti-semitism and other topics such as racism in order to build a more inclusive community. 

“I want to emphasize that we have no tolerance for hate here at Fremont High School. When incidents like this occur, they are hurtful to all of us. In our school community, we deeply value different experiences and perspectives and embrace individuals of all backgrounds. This diversity in our student body is something to be celebrated. Anytime we witness hateful actions or speech, we must stand together and denounce these actions,” wrote Emmert in the email sent to families following the incident, “As a school, the most important thing is for us to come together, united as one community that supports all of its members regardless of our differences.”

Although FHS has a zero-tolerance policy, a similar incident spreading anti-semitism has happened only a few years back at FHS. Senior IIan Eliashberg reflected on the previous incident, and how it has affected him.

“I remember when I was a freshman,” said Eliashberg, “I was very open and when people asked me ‘What are you?’ [I said] ‘Oh, I’m Jewish.’ [..] As I’ve grown older, I’ve been more on the low down about spreading the fact that I’m Jewish because I know there’s a lot of anti semitism not only outside of America, but also in America as well.”

A charity monitoring antisemitism and provides security for the Jewish community in Britain, The UK’s Community Security Trust (CST) released on Feb. 10, 2022, a report on antisemitism in 2021. 2,255 anti-Jewish hate incidents were recorded nationwide in the United Kingdom, 2021.  2021 broke a new record, making it to the highest annual total that CST has ever recorded since, a 34% increase from the 1,684 anti-semitic incidents reported in 2020. The report draws a direct connection between the rise of anti-semitic hate crimes in 2021 to the Gaza-Israel conflict of May 2021.  

The CST report states, “The record total of 2,255 antisemitic incidents in 2021 is driven by the huge rise in anti-Jewish hate and extremism during and following the escalation in violence in Israel and Palestine last year.” 

Hate crimes such as this incident can be reported through the FHS website, or by contacting  a trusted adult on campus or one of the student advocates.

“As a school, the most important thing is for us to come together, united as one community that supports all of its members regardless of our differences,” wrote Principal Emmert.